11/22/2021, 16.07
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Students call for changes to end-of-term schedule

by Steve Suwannarat

An online petition has collected so far over 20,000 signatures. Critics slam extra-busy exam schedule as well as back-to-back papers in different subjects. The Education Ministry’s timetable might be driven by the government’s wish to capitalise on recent political success.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) – The exam timetable for the Malaysia Certificate of Education (SPM[*]) is raising concerns and sparking criticism across the country with some on social media calling it “insane”, worthy of the South Korean Squid Game TV series.

An online petition urging the Ministry of Education to take a step back has gathered more than 20,000 signatures.

Critics note that exams are scheduled even on weekends. Some states (Kelantan, Kedah, and Terengganu) observe a Friday-Saturday weekend. Thus, exams are held on the Muslim day of prayer, this in a Muslim majority country.

Students also question the logic of having back-to-back papers for main subjects like English, history, mathematics and Islamic studies.

Instead of taking place over a month period, the end-of-term exams are set for two and half weeks, from 2 to 20 March 2022.

The government has not provided any explanation for the timetable; however, some observers are speculating that it might related to possible early elections in July 2022, a year earlier than expected.

The ruling United Malay National Organization (UMNO) has given credence to this possibility after it won in the Malacca (Melaka) state assembly election yesterday. The party might now be tempted to capitalise on that victory to consolidate its rule, which has recently experienced some difficulty.

Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, a lawmaker and well-known youth advocate, stressed that dissatisfaction is high among students, but also their parents and teachers.

He criticised the timetable, noting the difficulties many students have in accessing online learning. Hence, he urged the authorities to reconsider.

Speaking about students, he said “This is the only chance they have before the next phase in life.”

“The 2022 SPM schedule is too hectic. It is not kind to students, parents, and teachers,” writes the creator of the petition page.

“On one end we are advocating for mental health and at the same time, we have our very own Malaysian Squid Game SPM schedule,” the page read.

For many such lack of concern is similar to that of the prime minister, who in recent days cancelled the much-appreciated school breakfast and then said that youth are precious to the country.

[*] Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia.

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